Manchu bow (my first)

I’m taking the initiative to make my own Manchu hornbow. I have read Adam Karpowicz book and done the research I can do to prepare, but I still have some questions. From Adams book I assumed that only small 8-10cm trees were candidates. But now I see Nystrom, here on Atarn, using larger trees. Should I save the younger trees and cut down something bigger? And when I divide the tree into logs; how long? These are some of the maple trees I have, there are more (Acer platanoides, Sweden).

This is my drawing. Does anything seem off? The working limbs will be slightly steam bent. I haven’t seen any other bowyer use a kasan-eye on a Manchu bow, should the rigid- and working-limb flow in one single curve?
I designed this bow as a 7 piece construction. But If I get a nice curved piece for the levers; I will skip the knee and make it a 5 piece construction. All the v-splices are 10 cm long. I’m aiming for 60-80# as this is my first horn bow.

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Nice plans, looks good to me.

Adam is correct, small trees are good for our use. Only thing is that you need it free of knots, naturally. Adam maybe has such source for small, knotless maple, but i don’t. Therefore i had a local guy give me big logs of maple. To my knowledge there shouldn’t be any magical properties to old or young trees.

There is no kasan eye in manchu. I recommend to keep the reflex low in the first bow, as you have already drawn there. When the bows are kept at 25cm brace height and drawn to 34", there should be plenty of stress!

Thank you for answering all the questions. I will cut down something “half good” tomorrow so I can practice and do some mistakes. Might start with the tool making to get the feeling for it.
I’m thinking, since the limbs on a Manchu bows are somewhat wider than a typical Turkish bow and the profile is more of an oval than an half-circle; the radius of the growth ring of a bigger tree might match the Manchu bow profile better.

IMHO, if you can choose straight ( without knots and irregularities - preferably continuously observed / guarded from the planting time ) bottom part of trunk ( up to 1,2 m from the roots ) with smooth bark - of the slim ( up to 15 cm diameter ) tallest ( at least 9 m high for this max diameter ) appropriate “kind” of tree ( verticaly / not leaning / grown in the shade - but on sunny location, or regularly debranched to propagate upward growth ) from not windy place with moist rich soil , do it without hesitation. Another ( unknown to me till now :slight_smile: ) conditions could be important too.

Then test the sample of this wood before use and you could be ( very probably :slight_smile: ) successful and satisfied with your bow. ( Sorry for too compressed summary of theoretical knowledge. )

Thank you for the advice Jano, I took the time and cut down a tree today. I choose a 15cm diameter tree with the first branch was at 2m height.
Also went through my property and did a inventory, not as much maple as I hoped for. I will have to do some pruning in July and some planting for this autumn to keep the good trees growing.

I split the pieces today and gonna thin them out and strap them down tomorrow.

I have also constructed a shaving horse

And this is how i presume I will cut the knee/tip piece? (the template is 20mm and 30mm wide)

Nice “haul” . Only short notice for now - you could saw ( even by hand saw ) several lams from each billet/split ( if it is good wood ) instead of “thinning” them into only one lam.

For knee/tip piece you can use only central part of shown branch and only right ( as it is on the picture ) half/part of it, if you would like to follow the grain, hence I would rather search for thicker branch/fork with slightly steeper angle.

Wish you good luck when revealing this wood quality :slight_smile: !

Perfect timing, I just got inside to get my billet. I don’t own a bandsaw (yet) but I can attach my circularsaw to a table and saw the nicer specimen in half. Gonna remove the bark now so I can inspect them thoroughly.